Leaving Seminary with Najwa Zebian

I support Christian higher education. I have been a student at two and the last school NNU (Northwest Nazarene University) for two years. A record since the other time I was only enrolled for 2 quarters (Seattle Pacific University).

I liked both of these schools but dropped out from both. In this post I write about how Najwa Zebian helped me find meaning in life enough to drop out again.

I left the first school, SPU, because I got paranoid and stressed, had already done the paranoid and stressed grad school show through 2 MA degrees at UC Davis (where I was sexually harassed), and decided to tap out to avoid similar damage to my psyche.

I just dropped out at NNU, and it was for a number of reasons that had nothing to do with the school itself at all. In fact, I am a donor at that school, and SPU, to this day.

It has to do with what education does in general.

I started noticing that I thought about God and analyzed God more than I was with God. My 2 MA’s in literature had the same impact: I don’t read fiction anymore!

It helped me talk about God in a way that wouldn’t harm LGBTQIA+ populations, but it still wasn’t outspoken in standing with them. It didn’t endorse them.

And I felt like I was getting passive about racial justice even though we read so many books on it, because I got a better sense of how it moved through our society and its pervasive nature started to immobilize me.

The biggest reason, however, was reading a book called Welcome Home: A Guide to Building a Home in Your Soul about how we build our homes in the lives of others rather than in ourselves. Students build their lives in the lives of their teachers. With young children, this is fine and to be encouraged. It’s a sort of mind-meld that facilitates learning.

However, I am 37. Therefore, when the author of Welcome Home, Najwa Zebian writes about being a PhD candidate and leaving before getting her degree, a light bulb went on. That’s what I did in 2014! I did all the coursework in a PhD program at Davis and left! And that’s what I can do with my Master of Divinity too! I don’t want to become a pastor.

I’m a life long learner and don’t need to be attached to an institution, and I also don’t need to wait for trauma to kick me out. Hopefully younger generations (Zebian is 5 years younger than me), will wake up from this even sooner than I did.

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